august 3/RUNSWIM

run: 3.8 miles
river road path, north/south
78 degrees
9:15 am

Before I went out for my run, I began to re-memorize the poem, Babel by Kimberly Johnson. I got this far:

My god, it’s loud out here, so loud the air
is rattled. Who with the hissing of trees,
the insect chatter, can fix devotion
on holy things, the electrical bugs so loud
the air is stunned, windy the leaves’ applause
redoubled by the clapping wings

of magpies?

I recited it in my head as I started out above the river, but even though there were many cars and people, it did not feel loud in that frantic, intense way. I felt the calm of the whooshing wheels of cars in no particular hurry, the click click scrape of ski poles from an assembly line of roller skiers — more than a dozen of them, all wearing bright orange t-shirts (is that a good name for a group of roller skiers? I’ll keep working on it.) No clapping wings or hissing trees.

Didn’t see the river. I looked once, but it was hidden by the leaves. Didn’t really notice the tunnel of trees either. I think I looked for stacked stones but I can’t remember if any where there. Heard no rowers below.

Raise your heads, pals (a favorite line from Dorothea Tanning’s “Woman Waving at Trees”): Spotted at least 2 airplanes, flying across the sky. I knew the first one was a plane. At first I thought the second was the moon. Speaking of the moon, Scott just told me about how some scientists (from UCLA, I looked it up later) have determined that some pits on the moon, which they identified in 2009 as having a constant climate in the 60s, might lead to larger caves which you could be used a base camps for longer stays on the moon. What? Cool. Another cool thing that I found in the article, which I probably learned at some point and should remember: A day on the moon lasts about 15 Earth days, and a night lasts about 15 Earth days. Can you imagine how different everything would be if our days and nights lasted that long?

I did some triple berry chants:

strawberry
raspberry
blueberry

ice cream truck
ice cream cone
ice cream cake

creme brulé

chocolate (to me, it sounded like, chock uh lut)
chocolate
chocolate

Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker.

Overheard: It’s impossible to _______. It’s impossible to what? I thought about trying to imagine endings to that sentence but decided I didn’t want to think about what was impossible, just what was possible.

Turned around just past the 2 mile mark. Stopped to put in my headphones (Lover/ Taylor Swift).

Thought about the Apple+ show I started watching last week, The Morning Show, especially the line about how people are drawn to tragedy and the worst news, and that they don’t want more real news or facts, but entertainment. Then ruminated over: Do people watch the news when things are going well? If not, what do we do with that? Lots of other wandering thoughts about the need for hopeful stories, and how people in power try to hold onto their power by keeping everyone afraid. This flurry of thoughts is hard to sum up into a coherent statement — kind of like when you try to tell someone the plot of your dream and it’s too strange or non-sensical or not nearly as mind-blowing to them as it seems to you. And, like a dream, these thoughts lasted less than a minute. Then they were gone.

I also briefly thought about the CAConrad somatic exercise I wrote about in this log yesterday, and how creative writing comes from the focus, or the shift in focus, that tragedy/depression enables/requires/demands. How does moving outside, engaging in strenuous (but not too strenuous) activity enable us to shift our focus in ways that encourages creativity? How is this focus similar and different from the shift that happens when we are undone by tragedy?

Here’s a cool poem I encountered the other day, from the instagram account, The Kashmir Maibox:

M. / Claire Wahmanholm

M is for murmur and mutter—the ambiguity of the mobius strip, the marsh, the maybe trembling between two membranes. M is for mother, dark matter, the matrix that cradles the muscadine, marble, monosylla-ble, moon. Be menagerie, multivocal, madrigal. I carry your multitudes through midsummer, through marigolds and mayapples, through mud. I hide you in the middle of a maze, bury you like minerals in the mine of my body. You are marrow-deep, marine, mollusk in your mother of pearl hull. The months are a moat between you and melancholy, missiles, mourning. M is for the meteor magnifying through the telescope’s lens, the metronome unmuffling. M is for metamorphosis and mutant. I am more and more mountainous. I am a mare rolling in a midnight meadow, all musk and muzzle. M is for the migrations of monarchs, mule deer, mullet, for magnetic fields, for the way the world pulls you from me and you materialize. You are motor turned music, machine turned mortal. I am mended and marooned somewhere between mist and milk. I molt, am mangled. I molt, am myself. 

swim: 5 smaller loops = 3 big loops / 2800 yards
cedar lake open swim
80 degrees
5:45 pm

No buoys today. The air pump for blowing them wasn’t working. I thought there might be chaos in the water, but it was fine. No collisions. And I was fine, because I don’t need the buoys to see. I can’t usually see them anyway. It was windy again, with lots of choppy, wavy water. This time the waves rocked me instead of slammed into me. The sky was mostly blue with a few puffy clouds. The water was clear — I could see the sandy floor beneath me when I was close to shore. I breathed every 5 or 4, sometimes 6. A great swim!

august 2/RUN

5K
2 trails
71 degrees / dew point: 64
8:30 am

Warm this morning. And humid. Tonight during open swim it’s supposed to be 95. I listened to a playlist as I ran up above, nothing down below. The thing I remember most is the river. As I ran on the lower trail, I could feel the water shining off to my right. A constant presence of both the water and the idea of water beside me. Anything else? Greeted Mr. Morning!, passed some walkers and bikers.

Things that were missing

  1. the sound of trickling water from the sewers
  2. roller skiers
  3. fat tires
  4. Dave, the Daily Walker
  5. black capped chickadees
  6. crows
  7. woodpeckers
  8. rowers
  9. overheard conversations
  10. squirrels

Discovered this wonderful piece in the latest issue of Visible Binary: Ignition Chronicles / CAConrad

We live our lives with our list of daily routines, from washing our bodies to obeying traffic signals on our way to work. There is so much to remember to get through the day. When tragedy disrupts our routines, suddenly, all of our attention is centered on that loss. It is in the focus of loss where many believe they can write better: Focus, the keyword.

It is crucial to learn that the focus the depression offers helps us write, not the depression itself. After we finally understand this, we see how we can orchestrate any focus we want, to write whenever and however we want! (Soma)tic poetry rituals have given me eyes to see the creative viability in everything around us for the poems!

I’m thinking about this idea of focus in terms of attention and Simone Weil’s idea of pure attention as not will but surrender, and how the disruption of grief forces a surrender and a loss of control. What rituals/practices can we create to enable that surrender without grief or tragedy?

august 1/RUN

5K
dogwood loop (marshall)*
69 degrees
9:00 am

*43rd ave, north/31st, east/up to lake street bridge/marshall hill/cretin/river road/lake street to dogwood

Ran with Scott this morning. Ended at Dogwood Coffee. Didn’t notice as much becasue we were talking the whole time. Can I remember 10 things? I’ll try.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. the river: blue, empty except for a few glittering spots
  2. road work just the end of the lake/marshall bridge: the beep beep beep of a truck backing up and the clunk of some big machine pounding the pavement
  3. graffitti on the backs of some signs — where was that? I can’t recall — probably on marshall
  4. passing a man with a tight hold on the leash of a big dog — he stepped onto the grass to let us pass
  5. a runner who ran in the grass as he approached us
  6. a car in a driveway waiting for a break in the traffic
  7. a little kid on a scooter, about to cross the street with an adult
  8. no one near Black Coffee
  9. stepping into the street to avoid a sprinkler
  10. hot sun but cool shade

Wow, that was difficult. It took a few minutes to come up with this list of 10!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned collective nouns in my class. Here’s a great poem I just found with some collective nouns for humans:

Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild/ Kathy Fish

A group of grandmothers is a tapestry. A group of toddlers, a jubilance (see also: a bewailing). A group of librarians is an enlightenment. A group of visual artists is a bioluminescence. A group of short story writers is a Flannery. A group of musicians is — a band.

A resplendence of poets.

A beacon of scientists.

A raft of social workers.

A group of first responders is a valiance. A group of peaceful protestors is a dream. A group of special education teachers is a transcendence. A group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity. A group of hospice workers, a grace.

Humans in the wild, gathered and feeling good, previously an exhilaration, now: a target.

A target of concert-goers.

A target of movie-goers.

A target of dancers.

A group of schoolchildren is a target.

july 30/BIKESWIMBIKE

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back

The biker in front of me was far enough ahead that it would be difficult to speed up to pass him. He would peddle a few strokes then coast, then I would get closer — not too close, but close enough to think I might have to pass him which was stressing me out. Everytime he coasted, the bike chain moving over the teeth would buzz (am I describing that correctly?). I managed to not let it bother me too much.

Other enounters: more bikers, alone and in groups; a roller skier; walkers; runners; a surrey

swim: 2 very choppy loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees and windy
9:30 am

Much windier and choppier than I expected at the lake! Uncomfortable swells, making each stroke feel awkard, and lots of waves. Difficult to see anything in front of me. Even so, no problems staying on course. I was definitely ready to be done by the end of my second loop.

Sometimes the waves are fun. Having them rock you and wash over you. Or punching into them. Today, they were difficult and made me feel weaker not stronger. Still, I’m glad I came for open swim.

july 30/RUN

6 miles
bottom of franklin hill turn around
71 degrees
8:30 am

Warmer this morning. I guess the stretch of slightly cooler days is over. Still a beautiful day. Started in a state where everything was out of focus — initially I wrote, in a daze, but I wasn’t out of it or in a trance. It was more like I had turned my attention down, or maybe I had shifted it, from looking to listening? That kind of captures it; I wasn’t listening acutely, just absorbing the sounds and breathing and being relaxed. Ran down the franklin hill and into the flats, then turned around at 3 miles. I kept running until I reached the bridge, then walked up the hill as I talked into my phone. Turned on Beyoncé’s new music, Renaissance, and ran the rest of the way home. It’s great to run to; I felt like a badass — powerful.

I’m one of one, I’m number one, I’m the only one.

Alien Superstar/ Beyoncé

Here’s the recording I made. I think it would be helpful to find something that transcribed the recording too. But, what? Voice memo for iPhone is good for recording. The notes app does an adequate transcript. What can do both, and how much does it cost? I’ll have to look into it.

july 30th

from The Trees Witness Everything/ Victoria Chang

There is a bird and a stone
in your body. Your job is not
to kill the bird with the stone.

Some of us are made only
of nerve endings. At night,
we light up like radium.

One day you will wake
up beating. One day you will
wake up winged.

Let me tell you a story
about hope: it always starts
and ends with birds.

july 29/BIKESWIMBIKE

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
66 degrees (there) / 71 (back)
9:00 am / 11:15 am

A little crazy on the trail today. So many reckless bikers going too fast and not warning me they were coming. A mini peloton of male bikers — all decked out in their kits — zoomed past me on a curve at the top of the hill and I yelled out, Thanks for letting me know you were coming! Ah, so passive agressive of me. I stewed about it for a few minutes, thinking about how I wish I would have said something more direct, or how I wished people didn’t act like aggressive jerks so often, but then decided I wanted to enjoy this ride. So I started reciting Emily Dickinson — out loud! It’s all I have to bring today –/This, and my heart beside Over and over again. It worked! As I rounded the curve and neared the big beach at Lake Nokomis 10 minutes later, I thought about how grateful I am for every single bike ride I can still do. Maybe my brain and I will figure out how to keep me biking even when my central vision is gone, and maybe not. But this morning, I could bike by myself and I didn’t feel scared or (too) disoriented. And that ride took me to the lake. What a gift!

swim: 4 loops!
lake nokomis open swim
67 degrees
9:30 am

A little chilly. Lots of sun. A great swim. The first time this season that I’ve swam 4 loops. And I didn’t stop — well, I treaded water for a few seconds as I adjusted my too-tight goggles, but I never went back to stand near the shore. 4 straight loops in 75 minutes. Amazing. During the final loop, I felt warmed up and in that flow state. Tired, too. I’d like to get up to 5 or 6 loops, but I’m glad I didn’t do that today.

Image of the swim: Swimming towards the big beach, into the sun, I noticed spots of shimmering water ahead of me. I followed them towards the opposite shore. Then I realized: the shimmer was where there was a swimmer! Their disruption of the water with their strokes was causing the light to dance on the ripples. So cool! It was beautiful to see, and to think about each of us, out there on the lake, shimmering and shining and emitting a guiding light for each other. Even as I get irritated with some swimmers or bikers, I want to remember this image of each of us as a shimmering light dancing on the surface.

And here’s an interview I found the other day that I wanted to remember for the future:

from Short Conversation with Poets: Linda Gregerson

For the most part, I try to hold off on the “about” part for as long as I can. Attending to syntax and stanza form is one of the ways I try to do that. No one needs to hear me ruminate (or worse, hold forth) on something I already think I know. In one of her very early poems, Brenda Hillman wrote something like “the jetty of my ignorance” (I’m sure I’m getting that wrong: I seem to remember a walkway of some sort and a large body of water). Jetty, or footbridge, or causeway, the point is this: a certain kind of ignorance is good, even necessary, for the making of a poem. I’m not talking about willful mystification or atmospherics, God forbid, but rather about the momentum of good-faith wanting-to-discover-something. Deferring the “about” part is rather like deferring the main clause of a sentence: it stores up energy.

All of us carry around enormous repositories of grief and longing and wonder and memory, and these will always make their way into poems. Frontal attack, I’ve found, is rarely the way to unlock them.


“the momentum of good faith wanting-to-discover-something”
“Deferring the “about” part is rather like deferring the main clause of a sentence: it stores up energy.”
“Frontal attack is rarely the way to unlock them [grief,longing,wonder, memory].”

…the most profound and durable source of wonder for me is my “thrownness” into the biological world. I am perpetually astonished by the mystery of living in a body that, whatever its limitations, is so much smarter than I am. A body that handles more things, is infinitely more complex than what I think of as my “self,” a body that does things I could not possibly do on purpose, and which I inhabit as a kind of guest. 

“the mystery of living in a body that is so much smarter than I am.”
“infinitely more complex than what I think of as my ‘self’…”

I don’t think poetry is antithetical to reasoned thought. But I do think the experience of standing before the world in wonder and wanting to come to what mindfulness we can is a very important stance. In my experience, it’s our common stance, common to poets and scientists alike. 

I have been the beneficiary of instruction, or let’s just call it patient explanation, from people who are exquisitely trained in neurophysiological research, my late sister chief among them. The magic of that research is the combination of aptitudes it requires: capacities for abstract inquiry, tolerance of provisional thinking, and a daunting array of practical skills. The scientist needs to posit a hypothesis in order to formulate her question, and then to design an experiment that might help her refine the question, and she has to be prepared to jettison that hypothesis if her experimental results tell her it’s insufficient. You have to be invested in order to pursue the question, in other words, but you also have to be prepared to be corrected. I think that’s also a moral stance. You can’t be not-committed, you must be strongly committed and yet prepared to be corrected.

“you must be strongly committed and yet prepared to be corrected.”

Finally, here’s a great poem I found yesterday. Check out the note under the title. Poetry was an Olympic event? Nice.

Taking Your Olympic Measure/ Alberto Rios

Poetry was an Olympic event from 1912-1948.

Think of the records you have held:
For one second, you were the world’s youngest person.

It was a long time ago, but still.
At this moment, you are living 

In the farthest thousandth-of-a-second in the history of time.
You have beaten yesterday’s record, again.

You were perhaps the only participant,
But in the race to get from your bedroom to the bathroom, 

You won.
You win so much, all the time in all things.

Your heart simply beats and beats and beats—
It does not lose, although perhaps one day.

Nevertheless, the lists of firsts for you is endless—
Doing what you have not done before,

Tasting sake and mole, smelling bergamot, hearing
Less well than you used to—

Not all records are for the scrapbook, of course—
Sometimes you are the best at being the worst.

Some records are secret—you know which ones.
Some records you’re not even aware of.

In general, however, at the end of a long day, you are—
Unlikely as it may seem—the record holder of note.  

july 28/RUNBIKESWIMBIKE

3.35 miles
trestle turn around
62 degrees / humidity: 71%
8:00 am

Another beautiful, cool morning! All in the shade with only a few dancing dots of sun. I looked for the tree that resembles a tuning fork amongst the Welcoming Oaks but couldn’t find it today. Wondered if I’d feel out of tune during this run. Nope. It was great. Maybe it’s because of the new shoes? From the beginning, I’ve worn Saucony Grid Cohesions. But the latest re-design (I think I’ve been through 10 re-designs) does not work for my wide feet, so I upgraded to the Rides. Excellent, especially since I got them for 1/2 price!

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a roller skier, their poles clicking once, then sliding across the asphalt, or skittering across — no, maybe scraping
  2. the shimmering water peeking through a gap in the leaves
  3. a biker listening to something on the radio — a bike race? but not the Tour; that’s over
  4. a newspaper, rolled up and in the bag, on the stones just under the lake street bridge. What was it doing there?
  5. rowers, down below
  6. the wind — shimmering or simmering or sizzling
  7. someone pushing a stroller slowly, someone else pushing a stroller quickly
  8. a tall man with carrying a bag of newspapers on the path, a few blocks from the lake street bridge. Did he deliver the newspaper to the bridge? Why? (see #4)
  9. in the tunnel of trees: a bright orange construction sign, sometimes tipped over, sometimes upright. Placed there about a month ago when they were doing road work above and needed to re-route bikers below. Did they forget about it, or are they leaving it for later, when they’ll need it again?
  10. a biker with their front bike light on, approaching

As I listened to the wind in the trees, I wondered about one of my favorite sounds: the creaking of branches rubbing together, sounding like a door opening. I wondered: does this only happen when the trees are bare, or less covered with leaves? Do I ever hear this creaking in the summer? I can’t remember; I’ll have to start listening more deliberately for it.

Found on twitter this morning:

I think that in the process of writing, all kinds of unexpected things happen that shift the poet away from his plan and that these accidents are really what we mean when we talk about poetry.

John Ashbery

I really like this idea of the accidents. Often it feels like poetry is what happens when you’re trying to do something else. The something else = off to the side, on the side, not in the center but the periphery, not a matter of strong will but of surrender. A goal: get yourself in a space where you’re open to the accidents.

Also, this bit from a poem by Diane Seuss

What can memory be in these terrible times?
Only instruction. Not a dwelling.

Weeds/ Diane Seuss

Here are some cool facts about crickets that I just discovered from the mnstateparksandtrails instagram account:

Crickets are cold-blooded — their body temp changes along with the air temp. As the temp rises, their metabolism increases and they can contract their chirp-creating muscles faster. Heatwaves? More chirps! Temp dipping? Fewer chirps.

You need to be listening to a single cricket – this doesn’t work very well if you’re hearing a whole orchestra. (Officially a group of crickets is called a “crackle.”) Count the number of chirps for 14 seconds and add 40 to get the temp in Fahrenheit. It’s surprisingly accurate.

“Better grab a sweater for the campfire, it’s only 22 crickets out tonight. Brr!”

I want to measure the temperature in cricket chirps! Ok, in theory I want to. I’m not sure I could actually count the chirps. Also in this delightful description:

a group of crickets is called a crackle!

bike: 8.5 miles
swim: 2 loops
lake nokomis open swim
73 degrees / 5:30 pm

A little windy, but still a nice night for a bike and a swim.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a black plane
  2. a white plane
  3. a few menacing white sailboats, looking too close to the swimming area
  4. a flash of yellow ahead of me: someone’s safety buoy
  5. hardly any people at the beach — too cold? the green blue algae advisory?
  6. clear goggles, a noseplug that didn’t want to stay on (had to stop twice in the middle of the lake to adjust it)
  7. a little choppy on the way back from the little beach to the big beach
  8. spray as my arms entered the water. I noticed it as I turned to breathe
  9. clang clang clang a loud banging over by the menancing swan peddle boats — what were they doing?
  10. breathed every 5, except for when I breathed every 3 or 4

july 26/RUNBIKESWIMBIKE

run: 3.30 miles
2 trails + extra
73 degrees / dew point: 62
8:45 am

Stickier this morning. Rain is coming later today. I’m hoping the weather is wrong about the thunderstorms expected around the time of open swim. A good, relaxed run. Started it off by reciting “Auto-lullaby.” Think of a sheep/knitting a sweater;/think of your life/getting better and better. Greeted Mr. Morning! and had a thought as I heard his regular sounding morning and compared it to my, Good Morning! What if I’m the enthusiastic greeter and not him? What if I’m Mrs. Good Morning!?

Running south on the river road trail, I could feel the intense energy of the morning. So many cars on the road! So many runners and bikers and walkers on the trail! It helped when I entered the lower trail at the 44th street parking lot. Much quieter. The river was a calm gray blue. The trickling water from the sewer pipe was calming too. Only one bad smell: sewer gas near 42nd street. Yuck!

surfaces I ran on

  • road
  • sidewalk
  • paved trail
  • very dry dirt
  • grass
  • asphalt — smooth, cracked, rubbled, in slanted slabs
  • mulched leaves
  • gravel
  • a slick, metal grate
  • rocks jutting out of the dirt

I ran through the oak savanna and noticed that finally, after about 6 months, someone cut the big, forked branch that had been spread out over the trail and that I had to look out for and jump over as I ran. I could see the pieces of it stacked and off to the side. I suppose I should be glad, but I already miss having it as a landmark. And I miss how it made me feel pleased that I could still see it and that it didn’t trip me up.

I really like the form of this flash fiction (serious question: how is this different from a prose poem? But, do we need to distinguish it?) Bonus: they mention hating the word “moist,” which is the theme and title of the poem I posted yesterday.

Things I Should’ve Outgrown By Now/ Megan Williams

Crown braids, nightmares, Barbie dolls, mispronouncing library, soft spot for Austin Powers, talking to old men on Omegle, inability to tell North from South, hating the word ‘moist,’ crying during sex, <3 emoticon, embarrassment when I buy tampons, saying cheese & rice instead of Jesus Christ, nightmares about that boyfriend (you know the one), reading fanfiction, telling pedophiles on Omegle Your IP Address is being sent to the Child Pornography Victim Assistance Branch of the FBI, finding Heathcliff and Catherine romantic, the comeback ‘Whatever, Major Loser,’ stomping my foot when I’m mad, stolen liberry copy of The Body Book for Younger Girls, inability to tell East from West, quicksand phobia, wearing sports bras instead of real bras, snow-globe collection, crying when the princesses at Disney World call me a princess too, biting my nails, writing fanfiction, the color pink, sticks-stones-waterfall-girl-you-think-you got-it-all, hatred of sushi, asking pedophiles on Omegle who beg for mercy Have you ever met a girl who got raped?, </3 emoticon, tinted Chapstick, the bunny ears method, nightmares about that boyfriend, you know the fucking one, who said I was very mature for my age.

One more thing: I’m noticing that I have so many more typos in my writing. Okay, I’ve been noticing it for a while now. It’s because of my eroding eyes. I used to be very careful and so good about spelling things correctly and not missing words, or typing the wrong word. I guess it doesn’t help that I turned auto-correct/spell check off, but it kept auto-correcting to the wrong word and I hardly ever noticed. I don’t think I have the energy to proof read my work closely enough — and, with my bad central vision, I probably couldn’t spot the mistakes anyway. I should try working on changing how I write: a lot less words, I think. Or, speaking/dictating instead of typing. Maybe I’ll try both? A new experiment in shifting how I write as I lose my central vision?

bike: 8.5 miles
lake nokomis and back
71 degrees
5:00 pm (there) / 6:45 (back)

Lots of puddles from the light rain that stopped a few minutes before I started. Half the sky was a medium gray, half was blue with some white clouds. Didn’t have any trouble seeing the trail and didn’t have to try and pass anyone. Most memorable thing: they’ve trimmed back all of the bushes at the dangerous curve near nokomis avenue. I always worried that there would be crash in the spot. So glad it’s clear now.

swim: 3 loops
lake nokomis open swim
71 degrees
5:30 pm

At the beginning, the lake was so clear and calm. A beautiful sight! I overhead someone say, “it’s no calm. Not even a ripple. No excuse for getting off course tonight.” Later, as I was swimming I wondered, when it’s this clear, can people with normal vision see all the buoys all the time? I can’t. The lake was still a blank blue for me. I stayed on course, but only because I trust my strokes and have landmarks that help me.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a plane moving across the sky, not looking silver but black. At least one more, a few minutes later
  2. some vegetation wrapping around my arm
  3. more vegetation almost making it into my mouth
  4. having more trouble breathing to my left. I wondered what was wrong with my stroke, then I thought it might be that the lake was a bit choppier. Still not sure what it was
  5. feeling tired in the middle of loop 3
  6. at the start, a menancing swan peddle boat crossing the swimming area, blocking my view of the first orange buoy
  7. the last green buoy seeming so far off, never getting closer, always in the distance
  8. I think they’ve adjusted the small orange buoys that mark off the swim area on the right side. They used to be in line with the last buoy, now there closer in. Am I imagining that?
  9. the water was opaque — a cloudy light greenish brown*
  10. a lone duck waddling on the beach, looking for food…not from me! I know how bad it is to feed the ducks!

*I was curious, so I looked up what the water clarity is: 2.5 feet versus 11.5 feet at cedar lake. And also, uh-oh: there’s an advisory at lake nokomis for blue-green algae. please don’t have to close the lake. please don’t have to close the lake.

july 25/RUN

5.5 miles
bottom of franklin hill and back
64 degrees
8:30 am

Hooray for a cooler morning and a wonderful run! It (almost) gets me excited for fall and winter running. I’m not ready for that yet, though. Still loving the swimming. Ran north on the river road, down the franklin hill, then stopped to walk up it. I dictated notes into my phone about my final lecture. Then, I turned on a playlist and ran faster on the way back.

moment of the day

I encountered a group of camp kids, in their bright yellow vests, biking up the franklin hill. Near the top, I heard one kid lament, This isn’t fun anymore. Or, did he say funny? I can’t remember. Then about halfway down, a counselor was yelling out encouragement to 2 kids struggling to keep biking. Let’s go! You got this Lily! Let’s go Mya! It made me smile. I hope they both made it up the hill okay.

Greeted Dave, the Daily Walker and Mr. Morning! Heard the rowers, faintly, below me. Lots of birds. Was there sun? I can’t remember now — I’m writing this the next morning. Oh — I remember the river down in the flats. So calm, so still, almost a mirror. And yes, there was sun. It was hot as I ran near the Annie Young Meadows parking lot. No stacked stones on the ancient boulder. No roller skiers. No big groups of runners. Someone on one of those e-bikes with the tiny wheels. Several people running with dogs. A woman sitting on a bench.

Discovered this poem this morning:

Moist/ Anna Myles

Why should it be so hated, the word for soil
as the farmer longs for it, for the fresh loaf,
for the inside of the lips, the indoor pool’s
sweet chlorine air when winter burns your throat?
For the brush against your thigh of a dog’s nose,
for skin vital in its perspiration,
the velvet eyelid petal of the rose,
those other lips below, and the agile tongue?
Maybe only one who has been dry
and cold for years under Saturn’s tutelage
would need to praise the word that all decry—
a word for tears, for the heart, for new ink smudged.
A word for the peach after the knife goes in:
pried deeply, split, its inner gold now shown.

july 24/SWIM

2 loops
lake nokomis open swim
75 degrees
9:30 am

What a wonderful swim! No fogged-up goggles! No doubts about getting off-course — was that partly because the course was off-course? The wind and choppy water shifted the buoys all around. I felt strong and confident and happy. Swimming in this lake is one of my all-time favorite things to do.

10 Things I Noticed

  1. a big plane flying above me, noticing it over my shoulder as I breathed. I looked again and saw it flying between me and the bright sun
  2. vegetation lightly wrapping around my arm, then falling away
  3. a lifeguard’s voice through the bullhorn, giving directions to other lifeguards, after open swim had already started
  4. the flash of the silver boat bottom, a beacon leading me to shore
  5. the middle orange buoy, somehow on the wrong side of the green buoy — never seen it that far off course!
  6. as I rounded the orange buoy it flapped and flopped in the wind
  7. small waves making it harder to do a full stroke
  8. breathed every 5, sometimes 3 then 4 or 5 then 4, once after 6 strokes
  9. when the water was just above my head, near the shore, pushing off the bottom and boucing up to the top
  10. bright, light green is easier for me to see than orange, but still difficult. I could sight the green to orient me, but most of the time, it was just the vaguest suggestion, an idea of green or buoy or the way or on course. I have learned to trust these vague ideas as what’s real or true

Found this passage mentioned on twitter:

Something that keeps me going when I get stuck in my writing is getting the hell out of the house. I take walks, very late at night, around the lake that sits nearby. It’s quiet—just me and all the nocturnal animals, many mosquitoes, and my sweaty beer—and I’ll stroll and listen to the cicadas shriek. It’s good to look around at all that expansive beauty and wonder about the largeness of the planet: I’m such a small thing, just one of many creatures. After being on the Internet all day, or staring at a blank Word document, being out in the Florida evening helps my mind reacclimate. I come back carefully into my own head as I sit on a dock and stare out at the water, rippling wild in the moonlight. In order to work again, I need to be somewhere that reminds me that everything around me is big and beautiful and very much alive. I walk back home, full of the outside world, full of something I hope to bring to the page.

Kristen Arnett

I would like to live in a place where I might be able to see the water rippling in the moonlight regularly, or at least more often than I do now, which is never.